Waterford bottles world’s first biodynamic Irish whiskeyBy Kate Malczewski
Mark Reynier’s Waterford Distillery will release the world’s first biodynamic Irish whiskey this summer.
The bottling, called Biodynamic: Luna 1.1, is set to be the first whiskey made solely from biodynamic barley to hit the market, according to the producer.
To make the expression, Waterford worked with three barley farmers in Ireland who practise biodynamic agriculture, a set of farming methods first defined by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1924 and more often applied to wine production.
Biodynamic producers view each farm as a self-supporting system, and implement specific techniques accordingly. Waterford’s growers have taken on biodynamic practices including planting seeds in keeping with specific phases of the moon, using horses to plough in place of machinery and burying manure-filled cow horns during certain times of the year for fertilisation benefits.
Waterford said the goal of these methods is ‘to contribute to a more flavoursome’ spirit. The whiskey maker has distilled about 500 barrels of liquid from the biodynamic barley.
Reynier, Waterford Distillery’s founder and CEO, first trialled the distillation of biodynamic barley several years ago at the Bruichladdich Distillery in Scotland during his time as managing director there.
Reynier said: “Many of the world’s very greatest winemakers follow biodynamic farming to produce the most exquisite flavours… But nobody has released a whisky made from purely locally grown biodynamic barley – until now.
“Malt whisky already is the most complex spirit in the world thanks to the barley from which it is distilled, and with a biodynamic cultivation regime there is the ultimate opportunity to enhance its flavour. At Waterford, we are on a mission to create the most complex, unique and profound whisky, and biodynamics is the next step on that journey.
“It makes little financial sense, but for taste – for taste alone – it is the holy grail. Simply put: the healthiest possible soil equals the best possible flavour.”
Biodynamic: Luna 1.1 will be the second bottling in Waterford’s exploratory Arcadian series following the launch of Gaia 1.1, an organic-certified Irish single malt, last year.
Waterford’s whiskeys focus on the concept of terroir, a term often applied to wine to describe the impact of the environment on crops.
The producer worked with a team of scientists in a three-year study examining the impact of terroir on whiskey.